My father has Lewy Body dementia, and I am afraid to leave my mother alone with him.
My father has Lewy Body dementia and I am afraid to leave my mother alone with him because I feel her behavior towards him is abusive...
When my dad was at a phase where I noticed that his short term memory seemed to be worsening and he began having minor (compared to now) motor problems I decided to move back home to help out. My dad was always the one who took care of EVERYTHING. He did the bills, ran the errands, did the taxes, etc. I guess I wanted to be around so that I could pick up where he was lacking so maybe he wouldn't notice or get as upset or frustrated with the things that he wasn't able to do as well.
3 years later and I am still living with my parents - my twin sister has moved in a few months ago to help, too - but the situation is very different now. My dad needs assistance getting dressed, getting into bed at night, and eating. He has severe motor skill problems, hallucinations and also has trouble speaking. His brain gets mixed up in many ways, but in many other ways he is completely aware.
Being a caretaker is emotional and difficult for all of us who take on this responsibility. The biggest hurdle for my sister and I, however, is dealing with our mother. Rather than attempt empathy or understanding or patience she exhibits behavior that comes across as vary narcissistic, self-centered and downright abusive. My sister and I are usually the ones to get my dad dressed, make his meals, give him his medication but there are times when due to work or obligations we simply cannot be there. This scares me-especially since my mother has done very little to figure out a way to get the professional assistance that I think my dad needs - and will DEFINITELY need very soon. I have tried to gather his insurance information on my own but it is as if she is intentionally denying me access to take care of it for her. I have caught her screaming at him, yelling at him, cursing and belittling him - there have been a handful of occasions, for example, when I have woken up very early in the morning to the sound of her screaming at him saying things like "Can't you do ANYTHING?!" This tears me apart. My instinct, of course, is to jump in and ask her why she has to be such a jerk and then get her to leave the room and finish assisting my father with whatever it is he needs - at that point he is usually pretty shaken up and it is often hard to get him 'back on task' again. Which hurts all the more.
Furthermore, when anyone tries to approach her about her attitude or behavior she becomes incredibly defensive or takes a "pity me" approach as if WE are the awful ones. She even went to far as to call the police the other night on me for elder abuse against HER simply because I stepped in when she tried to start an argument with my sister and then bring my father into it who was then very confused and anxious and upset - so much so afterward that he couldn't eat. When the doorbell rang I knew she was up to something because it was 8:30 at night and I told her she could answer the door. Of course she told them it was a mistake. I also saw on the phone that she had dialed a number for the University where I work for some unknown reason. My co-workers know me well and I am not afraid of them thinking anything bad of me but it is still VERY embarrassing. On top of everything else it seems that in her eyes my sister and I are useless - we never do enough. Regardless of the fact that we make her dinner, buy her groceries, run all of her errands, clean the house, take care of her pet, etc. Her response is that this is "her house" and things should be done "her way." My sister's girlfriend of 4 years who I considered a sister-in-law left her because she could no longer deal with the stress of my family - in her words, "your mother is too much to handle." Other family members have also noted (though, discretely) on my mother's behavior, particularly since she has been recovering from an 'injured foot' for the past two months now so she hasn't been working and just lies on the couch all day.
I recently got my sister a job at the University where I work - she used to work from home, but this was a good opportunity and better pay. We are now both working 8-5 jobs and my sister is no longer at home during the day to take care of my dad AND my mom which has only made my mother more temperamental and I find myself worrying about my dad's well-being all day.
I know this is quite a rant - I have been holding all of this in for a while. I read some of the posts on this site concerning people with elderly parents who exhibited similar behavior to my mother's - many of them were the same age as my mother. My sister and I are 27 years old. I don't have a social life - work is a vacation for me, honestly. I know my father won't be here much longer I want to make the best of the time I have with him. I don't want to harbor ill will for my mother the rest of my life, either. I also would like to live MY OWN life at some point. I daydream about being alone with only myself to look after/moving far away/traveling - and I feel very guilty about it. Any advice? Please?